General

General, People /

Holiday Wishes to Our Work Family and Friends

It is only natural to think about family and togetherness this time of year. Something about road trips, a big meal, flag football games, and naps always reminds me of what to be thankful for at home. The downtime during the holidays also gives me a chance to relax and reflect on my work family.

My career in construction started at 15 years old. My uncle got me a job with a residential plumbing company working in the shop. My first summer was filled with stocking plumbing fittings, unloading trucks, cutting gas pipe, making deliveries and installing drain tile and sump pumps. I started that summer with little clue of what I would be doing for the rest of my life and finished it knowing in my heart what I was going to do for a career. I fell in love with construction, and that band of 12 plumbers I met that summer became my first work family. Over the next seven summers and a few college semesters, I had long reunions with my first work family and built many fond memories of my time as a residential plumber.

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General, Inspiration /

Rise in the City: A Unique Blend of Creativity and Altruism

rise in the city is a unique art event created to catalyze social enterprises in Africa, featuring an artwork competition, exhibition and auction. The concept began with splitting Manhattan into 100 virtual blocks; leading artists, designers and architects were then invited to create a work of art representing a block of the city. The challenge was to get inspired by Lesotho. One could reference the white, blue and green colors of its national flag, incorporate the traditional blankets or famous Basotho hat, or even re-interpret the traditional Litema patterns that adorn Lesotho’s vernacular buildings. All proceeds from the event go towards the construction of an accommodation block for an orphanage in Lesotho. Additionally, proceeds will fund entrepreneurship training for orphanage staff to promote the development of income-generating activities and reduce aid dependency.

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Architecture, General /

Drones and Architecture: Becoming Certified to Fly

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), or more commonly referred to as “drones,” are a somewhat new and emerging technology, especially in the field of architecture. As prices of this technology fall while its features and capabilities increase, we are starting to see the benefit of being able to utilize UAS’s in house. As with most emerging technology, the rules and regulations surrounding drones are relatively new, especially when you are dealing with something as controversial as a flying camera. Part of dealing with some of the red tape surrounding commercial drone use is gaining your Part 107 certification.

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General, Inspiration /

Four Tips for a Fun Social Media Launch Party

Lawrence Group recently launched its Instagram account and celebrated with a company launch party to get people excited and on board to share their behind-the-scenes project details, silly moments and an overall glimpse into what makes the culture and work of Lawrence Group unique. Our team threw a space-themed launch party for the start of our blog in 2015, and we wanted to top the level of excitement among employees for our second go-around. The “InstaParty” successfully launched our new Instagram account. Here are some tips I recommend for marketing teams looking to boost internal excitement and engagement when it comes to new social media for their company:

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General, Inspiration /

For the Love of Craft: A Trip Through the Legacy of George Nakashima

New York City, 7:00 AM, the 2-hour road trip ahead of us would allow plenty of time to soak in the gradual transition from the Manhattan skyline to the rural landscape of eastern Pennsylvania. Watching the sun climb behind our white Suburban (which had become our mobile office for the day) we exited the Lincoln Tunnel and turned our conversation and thoughts to what lay ahead; the town of New Hope and home of woodworker, George Nakashima.

Everyone can remember the first time they heard about the work of George Nakashima. For some, this is in the trenches of design school, for others it is through curious self-initiated investigation, and for many this introduction is given in moments of serendipity over a dinner table or chance encounter with one of Mr. Nakashima’s wooden masterpieces. For almost everyone though, the name “George Nakashima” brings to mind a remarkable design heritage and a seemingly endless wealth of timeless inspiration. For the nine of us in our fully loaded SUV, a rare opportunity for a private tour of the Nakashima Foundation was a long-awaited adventure.

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General, Inspiration /

3 Pieces of Advice for Future Conference Attendees

I can’t express enough the wealth of knowledge that the Midwest Digital Marketing Conference provides. I’d like to give a shout out to UMSL Business for putting on such a rich learning experience, and give a thank you to Spectrum Reach, the conference sponsor. If you haven’t already, take a look at my latest post, “Top Takeaways from the 2017 Midwest Digital Marketing Conference,” which outline the key pieces of knowledge I learned from the 2017 conference. Thinking of attending next year? Here is my first-timer advice:

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General, Inspiration /

Top Takeaways from the 2017 Midwest Digital Marketing Conference

The 2017 Midwest Digital Marketing Conference marked UMSL’s third year hosting the event and my first year in attendance. I learned a lot about what it is like to attend a large conference like this and a lot about the changing digital marketing landscape. Here are some of the key insights I took away from the conference.

  1. Digital marketing should be about making connections, not just making contact.

This one may seem obvious, but it never hurts to have a reminder. The key to a successful social media presence is making meaningful connections with your audience, not just spewing information at them that you perceive to be relevant. It’s better to stop and understand what your audience really wants to see and respond to, rather than playing a guessing game. Two pieces of advice to keep in mind to help you stay on track and build connections are (1) say it, don’t spray it and, (2) when it comes to content, place value on quality over quantity.

(Inspired by Phil Cara of Buzzfeed)

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General, Inspiration /

5 Social Media Best Practices for the AEC Industry

The social media scene is ever evolving. New platforms are popping up rapidly, while others are becoming obsolete. With so many channels to choose from, learn about and keep up with, social media strategy has the potential to be a real headache for digital marketers in the AEC industry, an industry changing almost as rapidly as the tools with which we market those services. Here are five best practices I think can help you make the most of your firm’s time spent on social media marketing.

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General, Inspiration /

3 Powerful Presentations from 2016

As another new year is almost upon us, I’m reminded of three powerful presentations that I was fortunate to attend in 2016 with lessons to carry forward into 2017.

The national SMPS (Society for Marketing Professional Services) and CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) conferences always have high caliber keynote speakers, and 2016 was no exception with Ben Casnocha and Amy Cuddy. Then at its local signature event in November, CREW St. Louis brought in national speaker AmyK. All three were dynamic, had great stories to tell and gave key takeaways to help others in their career development.

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Architecture, General /

A Week Down South

I have always loved being from St. Louis and have always had a lot of civic pride in the city I live in. I have been fortunate enough to live in Kansas City, Missouri and Manhattan, Kansas for school, and travel various places throughout the country, but rarely have I ever made it “down South.” That all changed when I got asked to visit and work in Lawrence Group’s Charlotte office for a week.

The office had a deadline for a new recreation complex and needed some help. I was happy to make the trip and get some valuable experience at another Lawrence Group office. It was easy to sense that southern charm in the small town of Davidson, about 20 miles outside of Charlotte, immediately upon arrival. Shortly thereafter, I got oriented on the project, and we got to work. Over the next week, I worked closely with Dave Malushizky, principal, and Jackie Paulsmeyer, designer, on the project as we hashed out things from reflected ceiling plans to window and door details to interior and exterior elevations. (more…)